Once upon a time, I was a waitress at an Italian restaurant. I loved it. I loved seeing the tomato mustasched smiles of kids with their parents digging into a plate of spaghetti. I loved the warm appreciative glow in the eyes of two people, so very much in love, enjoying an appetizer of fried calamari. I loved the hustle and bustle of tour-bus crowds scrambling in, scarfing their buffet meals, and reluctantly leaving for their hotel.
Now, I’ve always loved scampi. Yes, it’s simply called “scampi”; not “shrimp scampi,” just “scampi.” The name “scampi” implies shrimp is involved. Being an English major, I can’t help but nit-pick on these kinds of details sometimes. Don’t believe me? Look it up. I’ll even make it easy for you. Here’s a link to Merriam-Webster’s definition for scampi. 😉
Usually, I make my scampi with white wine, but we didn’t have any in the house and I didn’t want to go buy some. I used chicken broth instead. Two other variants: the baby scallops and red bell peppers. When we were at the store buying the raw shrimp, we saw the baby scallops and our mouths watered. How could we resist? I added the bell peppers because I wanted a little color variety. Pink shrimp, white scallops, yellow spaghetti squash–it all seemed like it might be a little, well, boring for the eyes. I thought about tossing in some asparagus, but the store didn’t have any good looking stalks.
So, here it is, my latest version of scampi…
Scampi with Red Bell Peppers and Scallops over Spaghetti Squash
- 1 medium-sized spaghetti squash
- 1 large red bell pepper, halved and sliced
- 6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- 1 and 1/2 lbs large, uncooked shrimp
- 1/2 lb uncooked baby scallops
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- a dash of salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (to taste)
- Microwave the squash for 6 to 8 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before handling.
- Cut the squash in half, length wise.
- Then, scoop out the seedy core and discard it (or save it for another recipe).
- Using a fork, shred the flesh of the squash and set the “noodles” aside in a bowl.
- Cover it to keep warm; discard the tough skin of the squash.
- Saute the red pepper with 1 tablespoon of ghee and 2 of the garlic cloves over medium heat for about 2 minutes.
- Set aside in a bowl and cover to keep warm.
- Saute the shrimp with the other tablespoon of ghee, 3 garlic cloves, salt and pepper over medium heat.
- Just before the shrimp turn pink, add the scallops and last garlic clove.
- Saute for about 30 seconds.
- Then, pour in the chicken broth and sprinkle in the red pepper flakes.
- Bring the liquid to a simmer.
- Toss in the sauteed red bell pepper and garlic.
- Allow the entire mixture to reduce very slightly (no more than 5 minutes because you don’t want to overcook the shrimp or scallops).
- Finally, serve over the spaghetti squash and enjoy!
Next time, I will add green bell peppers or asparagus, or perhaps we’ll serve this over spinach instead of spaghetti squash. That will make it more visually interesting, as well as add some other yummy flavors.
Tonight, Brent and I enjoyed a new experiment. We’re calling it seafood pesto pasta. Last week, I made a pesto from scratch for a roasted chicken; we also had some scallops and shrimp in the freezer. So this weekend we bought a spaghetti squash and tonight we threw it all together.
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 8-10 scallops (uncooked)
- 3 cups of small shrimp (already cooked)
- 1/3 cup of pesto (homemade, if possible)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Bake the spaghetti squash for 60 to 90 minutes, until tender (ours needed just 75 minutes).
- Let the spaghetti squash cool for 10 to 20 minutes.
- Cut the squash in half, length-wise.
- Scoop out and discard the seeds; then, package one half for use at another time. (Unless your squash is super small. We only needed half because ours was pretty big.)
- Shred flesh of the remaining half of the squash into a bowl.
- Melt the ghee over medium high heat in a pan.
- Sauté the garlic in the ghee for about 1 to 2 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant.
- Sauté the shrimp in the garlic and ghee for about 3 to 4 minutes, until heated through.
- Remove the shrimp from the pan and place in a bowl to the side.
- Sauté the scallops in the garlic and ghee for about 2 to 3 minutes per side, until cooked through.
- Remove the scallops from the pan and place in the bowl with the shrimp.
- Toss the shrimp, scallops and shredded spaghetti squash with the pesto in a large bowl.
- Serve and enjoy!
Tonight we decided to start to work toward emptying all of the frozen foods out of our freezer; it’s really out of control. We picked up a large bag of frozen scallops at Costco last week, so tonight was a great night to experiment. I looked around at new and old scallop recipes, but I really wanted to go in a different direction. Here is how it went down.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 minced cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1.5 lb scallops (10-12 large)
I heated the garlic and red pepper flakes in the olive oil over medium-high heat in my cast iron skillet. While I typically enjoy using the skillet, next time I’ll stick with a more traditional pan (the clean up was not a good time).
Once cooked down a bit, I added in the scallops. Two minutes per side, and then took off to rest.